How to Plan Your Financial Comeback

How to Plan Your Financial Comeback

by Jacqui Kearns

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted1 the finances of millions of Americans. As the economy begins to reopen, many people are beginning to focus on the future again and turn their attention to making a “financial comeback.” Events – such as when the virus is deemed to be on the decline, how long it takes to ease social distancing rules and the trajectory of the economy as a whole – will play a key role in people’s fortunes in coming months. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be thinking about a step-by-step journey to making your own personal comeback. Here are four ways to begin the process of rebuilding.

people in office working

1. Survey your situation. The sheer size of the financial fallout of COVID-19 means you may not be totally aware of where your financial situation stands. The federal government issued a $1,200 stimulus, as well as extended unemployment benefits with an extra $600 to help people get through these difficult months. Yet, if you’ve lost your job or your hours have been cut or you’re making less money than before, paying bills and other expenses may be overwhelming. It’s important to sit down with all of your accounts, current income and bills, and projected expenses. For better or worse, this will give you a clearer sense of your overall financial situation, which will help you make more informed decisions about spending and saving.

2. Set a realistic goal. At the beginning of 2020, Daniel L. Fiorica, Affinity’s Sales Support Manager, wrote a blog on “6 Resolutions You Need to Make to Save Money.” Daniel emphasized that financial goals need to be tailored to your unique needs; someone who is just getting by won’t have the same goal as someone who is financially secure. Therefore, as you’re planning your financial comeback, you need to set a realistic goal that is specific to your situation. At Affinity, we believe there are six steps on the path to wellbeing, framed as financial milestones you reach over time:

  • I have at least $1,000 in a liquid savings account, earmarked solely for emergencies (hint: Getting the newly released iPhone isn’t an emergency)
  • I have a detailed budget in place that actually works for me.
  • I have 3 months-worth of living expenses saved for emergencies
  • I have 6 months-worth of living expenses saved for emergencies
  • I am debt free
  • I am building long-term wealth


The milestone you’re working toward may have been put out of reach by the COVID-19 crisis. But once you have an accurate view of your financial situation, decide what goal you’re working toward now and start taking steps to get there. If your goal was to be debt free but you now you have less than a $1,000 in a liquid savings account, you need to adjust to align with your current situation. Setbacks, including financial ones, are temporary and can be overcome!

3. Create a budget. This may seem cliché personal finance advice, but it’s never more important than during a financial crisis. Budgets are important regardless of financial situations. Likewise, you should always be looking for sensible ways to cut back or stay within a certain limit, so that you’re earning more than you spend. I recently wrote a blog on “Tips for Rebuilding Your Emergency Fund,” and listed some good ideas about budgeting and saving money, such as ending subscriptions that you no longer use or could do without. Making small adjustments adds up!

4. Believe that financial comeback is possible. Try not to allow the stress of this unprecedented moment get the best of you. Seek comfort in your family and friends, who – chances are – are facing similar challenges right now. Also, the simple act of developing a plan should make you feel better and make you feel like you have a grasp on your situation. Finally, think long-term. As a community and country, we’ve been through disruptive crises before. We will get through this—you will get through this. And if you’re an Affinity member, don’t forget that your credit union also has your back!

                                                   

For additional information and updates from Affinity about COVID-19, please visit https://www.affinityfcu.com/banking/we're-here-for-you.aspx

This information is for informational purposes only and is intended to provide general guidance and does not constitute legal, tax, or financial advice. Each person’s circumstances are different and may not apply to the specific information provided. You should seek the advice of a financial professional, tax consultant, and/or legal counsel to discuss your specific needs before making any financial or other commitments regarding the matters related to your condition are made.  

1 Retrieved from https://chainstoreage.com/study-puts-covid-19-income-losses-8900-worker